Service delivery 'war room' working to resolve water and electricity disruptions

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Deputy President Paul Mashatile says government is implementing rapid response interventions to resolve water and electricity disruptions in various municipalities across the country.

The Deputy President was speaking during his question and answer session in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

Through the Service Delivery War Room, the Deputy President said the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has developed some improvement plans to implement rapid response interventions. 

These, he said, include the establishment of the Results Management Office and the introduction of reforms in the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to fund repairs, refurbishment and renewal of infrastructure.

The war room is looking into the continued deployment of technical professionals through the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA).

The Deputy President told Members of Parliament that part of the Results Management Office’s responsibility is to assist municipalities in advancing demand-side management measures and providing alternate energy supplies. 

“These initiatives are aimed at reducing the impact of load shedding and its effect on substations and transformers,” he said.

Last week, the Deputy President, together with the Deputy Ministers of CoGTA and Water and Sanitation, visited Knysna Municipality in the Western Cape to find solutions to some of the challenges the municipality is facing.

“We are happy to report that with the support of MISA, the pump station that had been vandalised in the Hornlee area has been repaired, and water supply has been restored to the community. 

“As this government, we are committed to working within the inter-governmental relations framework to ensure that we assist municipalities in delivering services to our people,” he said. 

MISA continues to engage the private sector to fund bulk water infrastructure projects. Mashatile cited Sishen Mine in the Northern Cape and the Anglo Platinum Mine in Limpopo as some examples of private sector projects. 

“These private sector entities have stepped up to fund wastewater treatment works upgrades in the Northern Cape and Limpopo,” he said. 

In addition, Eskom has initiated the Active Partnering Programme, which provides technical support to municipalities through targeted interventions based on their needs. This is also aimed at strengthening the capacity to address the high failure rate of mini substations and transformers.

The Deputy President said Parliament is currently processing the South African National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency SOC Limited Bill to establish the South African National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency as a State-owned company, and a major public entity. 

“The agency will enable South Africa to expand our bulk water infrastructure and improve the management of existing water assets to ensure water security over the next decade,” he explained. 

Mashatile said government will continue to work tirelessly to assist municipalities to meet their constitutional obligation to provide reliable water and sanitation services to all South African citizens. –